“And the Lord spoke to Moses… ‘On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep [the Passover] at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.’ And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did. And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses… and said, ‘We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the Lord‘s offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?’ And Moses said to them, ‘Wait, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.’ The Lord [said], ‘If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it.”
“Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, [they] remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out… They kept the charge of the Lord.” Numbers 9:1,3,5-11,22-23
God is holy, and from the beginning gave holy statutes that honored Him and were for His people’s good. Since the first Passover, keeping it annually was one of their most significant celebrations. It recalled their miraculous deliverance from Egypt, and looked forward to future deliverance through Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God. But as with many laws, there are layers when it comes to implementation, and God’s people must filter and discern when there are apparent conflicts or incongruities. In these places, God applies His mercy. (Exodus 12; John 1:36)
The key is intent. People who were deemed by law “unclean” because of their proper handling of a dead body still wanted to celebrate, so the Lord made a way for them to obey both statutes. Their commitment was to submit, so submit they could, and did.
When we wait in our conundrums on the all-wise God, He is faithful to give us His insight and direct us. He sees the heart behind the surface conflicts, and never compromises His holiness. Our length of time waiting for His cloud to move is not ours to determine, but we can trust Him to lead the way. God is on our side, and delights in our obedience; He always provides a way for us to follow His word. (1 Samuel 15:22; 16:7; Psalm 32:8; 118:5-7; Proverbs 3:5-6; John 7:3-6,9; 1 Corinthians 10:13)
Are there places I resist God’s commands because they counter what is convenient for me, or even what makes sense? Are there times I play the authority, and choose which ones to obey and which to amend to my liking, or dismiss altogether? How well am I versed in the whole of God’s statutes, so I comprehend their meaning? Do I deliberately ask for the grace and wisdom to obey for His honor, not my will?￼
Holy God, keep me keeping Your statutes, honoring always their intent, and their righteous, merciful Author.